BY Theophilus Ekiyor
Sacred Heart University’s online programs for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing have been recently recognized as one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in their 2020 best online programs guide.
This year, U.S. News & World Report, added five brand new masters-level rankings of online nursing specialties. For its Online Masters in Education Program ranking, Sacred Heart currently ranks number nine in the country.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the schools are ranked based on a formula that takes into account faculty credentials and training, expert opinion, student engagement, services and technology, and student excellence.
Sacred Heart’s Dr. Susan L. Davis, RN, and Richard J. Henley College of Nursing offers wide access to online education, such as an RN to BSN program and an online master’s program which offers four different specialties. These include Family Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, and the online Doctor of Nursing program.
The university’s wide range of online degree programs gives unprecedented access to continued education in the nursing field.
Dr. Karen Bauce, Associate Dean of online programs, said, “We have the full collection so to speak of degree programs. A student can be someone who’s already a nurse and get a bachelor’s degree, they can go on and get a master’s degree, and they can go on to get their doctoral degree, and that’s all available online.”
Sacred Heart gives nursing students the opportunity to further their education entirely online. “Based on their goals, they can start with the BSN and go all the way up to the DNP and they can do it all online at Sacred Heart,” said Dr. Bauce.
Sacred Heart believes that providing access to continued education is important, especially in the nursing field, as oftentimes nurses are working in the field and are trying to establish themselves in the world. Dr. Bauce believes that access to education is paramount to success in the nursing field.
“Having access really opens up the door of opportunity to students who would not have that access. They’re working, they have families, and their private life, so the online platform gives them an opportunity to fit in their studies where it makes sense,” said Bauce.
Sacred Heart’s online nursing school boasts a highly skilled and dedicated faculty and staff. Every professor in the online nursing program is a full-time professor and teaches only in an online capacity. Dr. Karen Bauce believes the faculty’s expertise in online teaching is what sets the program apart.
“All of the faculty in our online programs are doctorally prepared, they’re all full time, and they only teach in the online programs. They’re dedicated to online pedagogy,” said Bauce.
The program is comprised of a diverse faculty hailing from all over the country, with a wide variety of skills, experience and expertise to go along with its diverse student pool.
Dr. Welton, a professor in the online program stationed in Iowa, said, “In the field of nursing, there are some things that are common and some things that are different in certain areas. Having diversity brings a wide variety of perspectives.”
Many potential students are attracted to the online program because they still get a sense of the Sacred Heart community through their online experience. This effort is displayed in smaller cohort sizes, on-campus residency visits, and its online advising program which pairs professors with students in the program.
Dean Mary Alice Donuis of the College of Nursing said, “Whether our students are online, or on-campus it matters not. The philosophy of caring healing that defines the essence of the nursing program at the Davis & Henley school of nursing and the commitment from our faculty is the same.”